Now that we have the movie on the brain …
The new Batman v. Superman trailer is pretty rad, I’d say. Got me thinking more about the movie — and how it’s the perfect time for another BvS merch review. (That and the fact that Toy Fair is upon us.) The other day it was Barbie’s new line (click here). Now, we bring you NJ Croce’s 3-pack of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
The bendable figure is a favorite of mine, and NJ Croce’s the top of the line. (They’re the Gumby people, dammit.)
And here’s the thing: In a weird way, they have the toughest road to travel when representing real people’s likenesses — and yet they pull it off. See, the rubber doesn’t lend itself to the same level of detailed sculpting we as consumers have grown accustomed to over the last 10 years or so. But whatever modeling these guys do, they give you the best you’ll get for something that’s as kitschy as it is collectable.
This boxed set of 5-6-inch scale figs lists for about $30 and is starting to become available in some quarters. You should be able to pick yours up by the time the movie opens in March, though.
The box itself is actually the weakest element of the whole deal. It’s very no frills — though I do like that they added a window to the front. Their other boxed sets have tradionally been window-free with the figures held in place only with the molded plastic shield.
The figures, though? Let’s talk:
The Man of Steel stands heroically in a screen-accurate outfit with its darker blue and elegant “S” shield. The cape is soundly secured in the back. I like the durable cloth that NJ Croce uses for its figures.
This is a real test of facial likeness. Batman gets the advantage because of the mask. But somehow, the manufacturer has managed to give us a bendable that resembles Henry Cavill. Cavill, course, is ridiculously handsome, but taken in context, this figure does him, well, justice. (His face, however, is the weakest of the three.)
Beyond that, though, check out the level of detail on the body, from the texture of the bodysuit to the striping to the accents on the boots. And without joints, the body sculpting is smooth and accurate.
As was the case with the Barbie line, Ben Affleck’s Batman has the advantage. It’s easier to nail a likeness when the mask is the dominant feature. But what I especially like with Batman is in the fine print, as it were. NJ Croce gets the little details right, like the gold (brass?) accents on Batman’s gloves and boots. The cape also hangs even longer than Superman’s. The body sculpt captures the wrinkles but it doesn’t convey the woven look of the one from the movie. It’s a small point but a point nonetheless.
If it’s tough to do a likeness in this format, it’s even tougher when you’re dealing with a woman. Especially a woman who’s an international model and actress. But like Cavill — perhaps even more so — they nail the facial sculpt to the point where it really does resemble Gal Gadot. Modern technology is a wonderful thing, but these guys at NJ Croce really know what to do with it.
The rest of the figure? Just dandy, with chest plate and straps and gauntlets and skirt and boots and tiara all properly accounted for and — like the entire set — crafted with quality and high standards.